Celebrating MSFHR's 2018 award recipients

Dr. Elinor Wilson (MSFHR Board Chair), Hon. Bruce Ralston (BC Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology), Dr. Chelsea Pelletier (2018 C2), Dr. Bev Holmes (MSFHR President & CEO), Dr. Eugenia Socías (2018 Scholar), Dr. David Huntsman (2018 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize), Dr. Siamak Arzanpour (2018 I2C)

Supporting research talent development is MSFHR’s core focus, and each year the Foundation gathers to celebrate the outstanding researchers that have been awarded MSFHR-funding. These researchers are working across the research spectrum, from discovery-based research, to the translation of research to new treatments, cures, practices, and solutions that improve the health of British Columbians.

The annual awardee recognition event is an opportunity for researchers, co-funding partners, government representatives and the Michael Smith family to celebrate, connect, and learn more about the research taking place in British Columbia.

2018 was the largest event to date. With 110 researchers and research teams funded across our suite of eight programs, there are now over 300 currently funded MSFHR researchers and research teams across BC. Together, these researchers are working to advance knowledge across the spectrum of health research from bench science to clinical and health policy settings, and improve health and care in our province.

During the evening, three researchers shared insights into their MSFHR-funded research projects and the value of their MSFHR funding:

  • Dr. Siamak Arzanpour (2018 Innovation to Commercialization) who is developing and refining a wearable robotic exoskeleton to help people with lower limb disabilities walk again.
  • Dr. Chelsea Pelletier (2018 Convening & Collaborating) who is part of a team working to improve physical activity levels in Northern BC and has found MSFHR funding invaluable in attracting additional funding.
  • Dr. Eugenia Socías (2018 Scholar co-funded by St. Paul's Foundation, 2015 Research Trainee) who is leading a series of clinical trials to evaluate promising alternative treatments for opioid use disorder.

The event was also an opportunity to hear from Dr. David Huntsman, winner of the 2018 Aubrey J. Tingle prize recognizing outstanding contribution to BC research and talent development. Huntsman, a four-time MSFHR-funding recipient and now a world-renowned expert in cancer genetics, had this insight to share with MSFHR’s early-career researchers: In BC, there is no reason why you can’t be a world leader.